Judge finds nobody beats out Cleveland for use of ‘Dawg Pound’
FridayFeb 17, at AM
NEW YORK - The screams from the "Dawg Pound" have reached a New York federal judge, who says the Cleveland Browns and their fans earned rights to the phrase before an apparel company came along and tried to take it away.
In a ruling made public Thursday, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin played referee to the dispute that lingered more than a decade before the Hawaii-Pacific Apparel Group Inc. sued the Browns and NFL Properties in
"Here, no reasonable jury could find by clear and convincing evidence that the Browns and/or NFLP abandoned the mark" when Cleveland was without a professional football team from , the judge concluded in a page decision.
Chin recounted the history of the wildly enthusiastic end-zone celebrants to , when members of the Browns defense called the team’s defense the "dawg pound," an expression soon adopted by the bleacher fans for themselves.
Before long, the phrase became so popular that NFL Properties – the marketing arm of professional football – decided Cleveland was a hot market and registered "Cleveland Browns Dogs" and "Cleveland Browns Dawgs" as an Ohio trademark.
By , the NFL was accepting licensing fees for T-shirts that used the words "Dawg Pound" and for a Hallmark Christmas card depicting Santa Claus sitting in a recliner watching a Browns game with a dog in a "Browns Dawg Pound" sweatshirt.
As the judge recounted it, though, storm clouds were gathering over Cleveland’s rights to the trademark once the California-based clothing company was founded in by Donald Shepherd.
Shepherd began to manufacture and distribute clothing bearing phrases such as "Dawg Pound," "Lil Dawg Pound" and "Top Dawg" in the early and mid ’90s after his teenage son was called "Top Dawg" by members of his baseball team in
In March , the company tried to register the "Dawg Pound" trademark but was opposed by the NFL. Shepherd said in court papers he had no interest in football and didn’t know that the expression was used in Cleveland to refer to fans.
After the Browns franchise moved to Baltimore in , the clothing company successfully registered the trademarks "Top Dawg" and "Lil Dawg Pound" and it eventually sold about $10 million worth of Dawg related merchandise, the judge said.
When the Browns and the NFL tried to register "Dawg Pound" as a trademark in March , the request was denied because it was similar to the company’s "Lil Dawg Pound" trademark.
A year later, the company sent a letter to the Browns and the NFL demanding that they stop using the "Dawg Pound" trademark.
Even as the litigation progressed, the Browns continued to promote the "Dawg Pound" on its Web site, where it called it "one of the most famous trademarks in sports."
Big Johnson is a brand known for its T-shirts featuring E. Normus Johnson depicted in comic art featuring sexual innuendos. At the height of Big Johnson's prominence in the s, it sponsored a Big Johnson NASCAR automobile and the managing company was twice listed in the Inc. list of America's fastest growing companies. The sexual innuendo has been controversial leading to court rulings banning sales in federal buildings and corporate decisions banning wearing the shirts. Big Johnson is marketed by Maryland Brand Management, Inc. (MBM), the successor company to Maryland Screen Printers Inc. (MSP) and G & C Sales, Inc.
In , Garrett and Craig Pfeifer created G & C Sales to create and market apparel relying on suppliers. The rapid growth of the company surpassed the capabilities of the company's suppliers and led to the formation of MSP in , which gave the brothers control of their own production. MSP was named to Inc.'s List of Americas fastest growing companies in both and  Big Johnson T-shirts and apparel are by far the most famous MBM product. The brand peaked in the s, with sales of $ million ($12 million today); sales of $ million ($ million) and sales reaching $20 million ($33 million). These sales were on shirts that wholesaled for $ At that time, the company sponsored the Big Johnson NASCAR race car of Dick Trickle. For a time, the company also sponsored the Busch Grand National Series NASCAR driver Johnny Rumley. In , the Big Johnson fan club had 13, members. In , Garrett Pfeifer created Maryland Brand Management, Inc. During that period Big Johnson accounted for 60% of MSP's sales and profits doubled every year from to  In , MBM celebrated 20 years of Big Johnson apparel.
In , the company's products became part of a United States ConstitutionFirst Amendment case when a gift shop proprietor at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland was forced by a U.S. District Court ruling to take sexually suggestive T-shirts and cards out of his store, which was located in a federal building. The order noted that "The sale . . . of items which denote sexually offensive and discriminatory statements, depictions or pictures is in violation of federal law and presents a hostile and sexually offensive environment". The proprietor sought an injunction against the U.S. Fire Administration. A few months after the ruling, the case was settled with the gift shop being granted expanded space in exchange for surrendering the right to sell the offending materials. Although both Disney World and Kings Dominion, are both large customers of MBM, Big Johnson shirts are banned in their amusement parks. Big Johnson has expanded beyond E. Normus Johnson shirts with lines of shirts for firefighters, police, and bikers.
E. Normus Johnson
E. Normus Johnson is fictional character, depicted as a scrawny, red-haired geek or dweeb. He is described as "a geekier version of MAD magazine's Alfred E. Neuman" by brandchannel. The character was created in either or by Maryland Screenprinters' artist Al Via. By , the character had appeared in cartoon depictions in the line of Big Johnson T-shirts. The cartoon captions allude to male genitalia using the double entendre of the Big Johnson name. Examples of the puns accompanying artistic depictions of E. Normus are "Big Johnson Fire Department: Break out your hose and pumper", "Big Johnson Fishing Gear: She’ll be ready to bite as soon as your fly drops", "Big Johnson Bar and Casino: Liquor up front. Poker in the rear", and "Big Johnson Tattoo Parlor: You’re going to feel more than a little prick".
- ^ ab"Maryland Brand Management, Inc". Maryland Brand Management, Inc. Archived from the original on Retrieved
- ^ abcdefghHarvell, Jess (). "Members Only: Local T-shirt Mogul Garrett Pfeifer Discusses His Big Johnson". Baltimore City Paper. Archived from the original on Retrieved
- ^ abcdefAlvarez, Rafael (). "Big Johnson T-shirts bring E. Normus success to brothers". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved
- ^"Big Johnson Catalog"(PDF). Maryland Brand Management, Inc. Archived from the original(PDF) on
- ^James, Michael (). "Fire school gift shop in hot water". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved
- ^James, Michael (). "Suggestive T-shirts won't be sold Fire academy store will get more space under settlement HHTC". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved
- ^Edwards, Keith E.; Headrick, Troy (). "She Fears You: Teaching College Men to End Rape". NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education. 1 (1): – . doi/ ISSN
- ^ abcdSauer, Abram (). "Big Johnson: no mojo?". brandchannel. Archived from the original on Retrieved
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Regardless of its exact origin, Sierra West went big with the Big Dog iconography. For a while, the puppies were indeed big. In the brand’s heyday, which spanned the ’90s and ’00s, celebs like Will Smith, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and David Collier proudly sported big Big Dogs prints. The brand gave bright California surf energy with neon colors, large-scale prints, and an unmissable St. Bernard–esque Big Dog, and was situated right alongside early-days Stüssy and pre-Target Mossimo.
But the brand filed for bankruptcy in , with new ownership pivoting to an outlet model. As outlet malls fell out of favor and business imperatives changed, so did the Big Dogs wearers. The core demographic was now the middle-aged, “average-Joe,” “salt of the earth,” and “very ‘Middle America’ ” customer, former Big Dogs brand director Steve Dawson told The Outline. By the late ’90s, Big Dogs had fully reached the snark of brands like Big John and Coed Naked, contributing to the phenomenon of the “D shirt,” or douchebag shirt. To this day, the Big Dogs online shop boasts a dedicated section for tees with especially “Big Attitude.”
The man behind Big Dogs’ radical shift was Hayden Slater, cofounder of Pressed Juicery. Slater took co-ownership of Big Dogs and its parent, the Walking Company Holdings, in May Flipping through old-school catalogs, he unearthed Big Dogs’ past: “There was a moment where Big Dog started getting a little bit mean,” he notes. “There was this personality that came out that was like, if you can’t hang with the big dogs, get off the porch.” But Slater also saw a road forward. “I started saying, can [Big Dogs] come from this loving, fun, inclusive place? Or has the brand gotten a little bit fratty or mean-spirited?” Looking back, he knew the brand had already accomplished plenty of good with its historically inclusive sizing, up to 6X, making Big Dogs an outlier in the fashion world. “How fucking dope is that? Celebrating bodies, celebrating shapes? Everyone could be a part of this,” Slater says. “I [felt] like the dog [was] ready to evolve again.”
The goal was simple: “The Big Dog [was to become] the anti-bully.” Slater brought on music-industry ghostwriter E. B. Sollis as Big Dogs’ brand director, to take on the challenge of shifting its reputation. Until Big Dogs, Sollis hadn’t done anything close to creative direction, but he did know how to work within someone else’s voice.
Sollis, looking back on the mission, jokes, “I don't know if dogs get facelifts, but the first thing that I did when I was there was redevelop the mission statement.” The new core principle: Go Big, Do Good. The company hired another savvy brander, Elena Flores, in January Together, Flores and Sollis reminded the internet of Big Dogs’ legacy as an “epic sand brand,” repackaging it for today’s market as the “anti-Supreme.” To Sollis, this didn’t mean the brand couldn’t also be cool, but it did mean staying accessible for anyone desiring the loyalty of a Big Dog—“a protector, rather than a bully.”
90s top dawg clothing
by Riese & Laneia
It seems like we had a lot going on in the general torso region back then. Lots of messages to send from our stomachs.
Top Ten Stupidest T-Shirts We¹ Wore in the Early 90s
GAP Logo Tees
Gap logo tees were like souvenirs from your trip to the mall. They were your way of telling the world, Hey, I left my house at some point.
9. Mossimo / Stussy / Quicksilver = Skate Culture
Being a skater or having skater friends² was a big deal because it was synonymous with anarchy and every 13 year-old is an aspiring anarchist. The only thing stupid about these shirts is that we didnt skate.
8. Yin Yang Symbols
Balance. Its all about balance and saving the earth/harmony, which was very popular in the early 90s. We also enjoyed ying-yang necklaces and posters.
7. Hard Rock Cafe
Back before every town and village sported a Hard Rock Cafe and everything could be purchased on ebay, Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts were basically a way to tell everyone you knew where youd been on vacation.
6. B.U.M. Equipment
We realize now that we were culturally appropriating Bums.
5. Hypercolor T-Shirts
This was the easiest way to get a lot of people to touch you in one day.
4. Big Dog T-Shirts
Tourists were really into Big Dog because Big Dog was ATTITUDE. Think of Big Dog as the cartoon dog depiction of a middle-aged white American man who listens to Toby Keith and just wants to see some hot chicks in bikinis.
3. No Fear T-Shirts
The first No Fear t-shirt I remember seeing was on this dreamy boy named Aaron and it said He Who Dies With Most Toys, Wins³ and I thought, that is so badass. These were especially popular with adolescent boys unable to convey intimidation and toughness through interpersonal communication.
2. Co-ed Naked T-Shirts
Everybody had just gotten boobs and figured out how to use a blow-dryer, so we really wanted to insinuate that we were having sex, even though we werent.
1. Big Johnson
Big Johnson t-shirts were so stupid and disgusting that we didnt even actually wear them, but we remember the assholes who did.
You should probably tell us what stupid shirt you wore in the nineties. No one can top Big Johnson.
¹Because Rieses Mom didnt want her to be a walking commercial, Riese was technically barred from owning most of these t-shirts herself. Thus we must reveal that for the purposes of this analysis, we refers not only to shirts WE wore, but also to the shirts we wanted to wear (except Big Johnson, neither of us ever wore Big Johnson).
² For real though, these brands were associated moreso with people who have skater friends (a.k.a. posers) than with actual skaters.
³ In actuality, the shirt read He Who Dies With the Most Toys, Still Dies, although Laneia remembers it otherwise.
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Long before the days of those large, menacing dogs of indeterminate breed, there were two childhood friends looking for a creative outlet after returning from their service in Vietnam. In the early s, Richard Kelty and Rick Scott taught themselves how to sew and founded Sierra West, an outdoor company specializing in plastic-lined jackets and camping gear.
Sierra West got its start when the young creators realized there was a gap in the market for sleeping pads. Kelty and Scott were early adopters of the now-ubiquitous Gore-Tex synthetic fabric, and Sierra West was allegedly the first company to sell Gore-Tex materials wholesale.
Operating on a shoestring budget, Sierra West's product testing facility was located in the men’s bathroom of their building. Plastics were tested by sewing bags out of Gore-Tex, filling them with water, and hanging them up to see if they sprang a leak. Fortunately, this method didn't last long, owing to the smash success of the sleeping pads and their subsequent releases.
Soon, Sierra West was one of the premier backpacking companies in the United States.
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